Hiking in Nahal Amud Nature Reserve
Hiking along Nahal Amud is deservedly very popular. Wadi Amud starts by the town of Meron and descends to the Sea of Galilee, and there are hikes all along its length. Each is spectacular, although in different ways. The hike described below starts close to Meron, is circular, and is the most popular. Other options are also described.
Time: About 2¾ hours.
Distance: 6½ Km.
Type of hike: Circular.
Difficulty: This is a mainly easy trail. However, there are 230 steps down to the wadi (and later up from the wadi). There are also a few rocky areas, but they are not difficult.
Directions: Enter into Waze “Nahal Amud” and click on “Nature Reserve Nahal Amud.” There are many entries for Nahal Amud on Waze, so make sure you have the correct one. The turn off for this particular hike is from Route 866.
Starting point: The trailhead starts from close to the gift shop.
Admission. This is a site of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. A gift shop sells cold drinks, some hot drinks and snacks. There is a shaded area with picnic benches adjacent to the gift shop. Make sure to obtain a brochure (currently only in Hebrew) with a map. Admission is 8.00 am to 4.00 pm Sunday to Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the summer, and similar hours during the winter except for Friday 8.00 am to 3,.00 pm. Their telephone number is 04 699 9984. This is their website.
Walk along the exit road directly opposite the gift shop and you will soon see a broad footpath on your right. It is not marked but everyone is walking along it. There is a garbage area surrounded by a white metal covering on the right at the beginning of the trail and a working water tap on the other side of the path. You will soon see that this is a red-marked trail. Continue along this trail until you come to a concrete lookout (#2 on the map in the brochure). It was built during the British Mandate and after the 1936-1939 Arab revolt to guard a water pumping station at Ein Yakim that supplied water to Safed.
Continue down the steps on the red-marked trail until you reach the spring of Ein Yakim. After exploring the spring, take the black-marked trail sign-posted to Sekhvi Pools.
Shortly, the path splits into two. Continue straight ahead on the blue-marked trail which runs parallel to and a bit above the stream. This part of the hike has little shade. If it is extremely hot, you may wish to make this a one-way hike and walk along the black-marked trail on the other side of the stream, as this provides a lot more shade.
On your right you will notice an aqueduct. It had two functions. It is on a higher level than the descending stream and this allowed for water from the Ein Yakim spring to be used for agriculture in the bustan (orchard) (#7). The flowing water also provided power for the flour mill (#10).
The blue-marked trail descends closer to the stream and reaches the Sekhvi Pools (#11). This is one of a number of pools you pass that can be used for swimming. None are particularly deep and are no more than up to an adult’s waist.
To return to your staring point, cross over the stream by the pool. Turn left in the direction signposted to Ein Yakim and Amud Stream Picnic Area. This part of the trail has considerable beauty in that it adjoins the stream for much of the way.
This path eventually meets up with the blue-marked trail after crossing again the stream. Turn to the right on the black-marked trail in the direction of Ein Yakim. At Ein Yakim, take the red-marked trail up the steps to your car.
There are a number of ways for lengthening your hiking:
You can start your hike from the outskirts of Meron on the Nahal Meron trail. This rocky trail joins up with Nahal Amud at Ein Yakim, a distance of 2.5 km. Enter “Nahal Meron” into Waze and click on “חניון נחל מירון.” There is parking here. You go under the bridge to get to the beginning of the trail.
It is possible to hike along Nahal Sekhvi to Safed from the Sekhvi Pools, a distance of 2.5 Km. This will bring you the Old Cemetery at Safed. One can even start at Meron and hike all the way to Safed. To get back to your car, walk up from the cemetery to the main city road Jerusalem St., and take a taxi back to Meron.
There are also other entry points into Nahal Amud. An exceptional hike starts a short distance beyond the Sea of Galilee on Route 8077. Enter into Waze “Nahal Amud.” This will take you along Route 8077 in the direction of Hukok. Waze will direct you into Kibbutz Hukok. But before this and shortly after turning onto Route 8077 look for the signpost to Nahal Amud. There is parking on the side of the road.
You can go in either direction, but going up the wadi is incredibly beautiful. Note the tall pillar not far from Route 8077 by Ein Amud. Amud means a pillar in Hebrew and Nahal Amud is so-called because of this pillar. Hike as far as you like. However, a reasonable place to turn around is at the National Water Carrier at Tsera Lookout Point. Note that the National Carrier crosses the Amud Stream in steel pipes and then goes up the other side of the bank. The steel pipe is covered with concrete in the form of stairs.
One can also hike in the direction of Lake Kinneret from the other side of Route 8077. You will pass the opening of three caves in the rock face that were inhabited in prehistoric times. There have been findings here from the earliest period of human history. Entry to the caves is not permitted.
The aqueduct was used for bringing water to the orchard and driving the mill.
These are the Sekhvi Pools. There are several pools on this trail in which one can swim.
This is the amud (column) from which Nahal Amud got its name. It is seen close to Ein Amud and Route 8077.